Equitable Substance Use Disorder Treatment For LGBT Populations: Research, Tools, And Resources For Behavioral Health Providers

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health discusses the role of minority stress for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and queer (GLBTQ) people. Minority stress creates a higher prevalence of substance use and mental health issues. The resource found a greater likelihood of drug use, smoking, and alcohol use across the age range of GLBTQ compared to heterosexual counterparts. The survey also found GLBTQ adults were more likely to need substance use treatment facility, experience depressive episodes and sexual impairments. 

It is found GLBTQ clients do not often access treatment for a few reasons. The treatment facility is not an inclusive space, not ready to seek help, financial barriers, to name a few. The resource further explores barriers for GLBTQ people, notably some reasons such as lack of GLBTQ specific treatment groups, not disclosing sexual orientation, and gender identity. Equally essential to have the option of mixed groups with heterosexual clients to create inclusivity and equity.   

Here are some tips to make the environment inclusive. They include displaying GLBTQ signage, access to genderless washroom, GLBTQ staff, and training staff on the GLBTQ population. There are inclusive intake forms that allow clients to self-identify and inform clients of the preferences for treatment providers for the best therapeutic fit.  Additional tips include referrals and links to externals programs that are more inclusive or specific to GLBTQ clients. The organization must provide training from Board members to cleaning staff to ensure diversity is at the organization’s core.    

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides resources for download and tools for increasing cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. 

Source: Equitable Substance Use Disorder Treatment for LGBTQ Populations: Research, Tools, and Resources for Behavioral Health Providers – CASAT OnDemand

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